POETRY

Tremulous Hinge

Univ. of Iowa. Apr. 2017. 90p. ISBN 9781609384869. pap. $21; ebk. ISBN 9781609384876. POETRY
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"Stutter," the first poem of this deftly observed debut collection, opens with the lines "since I couldn't say tomorrow/ I said Wednesday" and continues affectingly through words substituted for those harder to utter until the final, lovely line, "a puddle shorn from the storm." Here's a man who's really had to grapple with language, thinks the reader, and it shows. These poems are embedded in the world, addressing the real, the concrete: "This freight. Call it a body," says one poem, while elsewhere the speaker takes control by "remov[ing] all the angels/ from my poems." As the angels wander the Rockaway beach, the speaker tellingly points out that planes landing at Kennedy "fly/ low enough for us to see the colors of the rudders." Other poems address hydrangeas, porcupines, and a leaf's curl ("Prodded/ by moonbeams, gaze, or gale,/ it ruffles"); one strong piece has the stars looking at us as we look back.
VERDICT An Iowa Poetry Prize winner that will please a wide range of readers.

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